Five years ago, Mindy Berkson was one of the first entrants into a relatively new field: infertility consulting. Her Chicago-based business, which grew out of her own battle with infertility and leveraged her background in venture capital, now serves clients “from all over the globe.”
Recently, I asked her several specific questions to help you assess the value of inviting a consultant – other than your doctor – to accompany you on your infertility journey. Here’s what she had to say….
“What I find most gratifying is helping my clients become their own best advocate throughout the process.” For Mindy, that means connecting couples to all the resources they need – whether that translates into identifying a fertility specialist with above-average success rates, locating an appropriate egg donor or surrogate, finding an insurance policy with maternity coverage, or tackling the various financial & legal issues inherent in IVF, egg donation or surrogacy.
Can’t you do that yourself? Well, maybe….
But Mindy’s goal is to make your journey simpler, more efficient, and more successful. So, for example, she helps clients identify ideal egg donors or surrogacy candidates “in a shortened time frame – typically, two weeks.” She helps reduce costs and mitigate financial risk through prearranged, pre-negotiated contracts with agencies nationwide. And, she specializes in locating difficult-to-identify donors, such as members of minority ethnic groups.
So, is that her real added value? Speed? According to Mindy, it’s more than that. Her intention is to balance hope with caution. She wants to enable clients to move freely from a failed cycle to the next opportunity, while minimizing risks – including those risks couples may not recognize or know how to handle.
Experience taught her that there is a grieving process associated with not being able to conceive naturally, and that strong emotions combined with fatigue can make it difficult to think clearly or assess options. Her objective is to help couples move as quickly as possible from failure to success so that “they feel proactive – not stuck,” and so they regain some sense of control on this emotional rollercoaster ride.
That means helping couples set realistic expectations – emotionally, physically and financially – and walking them through tough decisions at critical emotional junctures.
How does Mindy measure success? “Our success is measured not only by each couple’s satisfaction with our services, but by the joy they experience in growing their families.”
The Bible promises that when we send prayers to heaven, God sends help to Earth. Might an infertility consultant be one of the ways God sends help? Every couple’s situation is different. For some couples, Mindy’s fee might seem like another financial hurdle to clear – and therefore, a substantial negative. But for others, she might literally be a God-send.
If nothing else, the sheer fact that she exists and that people like her are dedicating their time, energy and passion to helping you become a family should be profound cause for hope. Tuck that thought away for the next time you think, “this isn’t working and no one cares.”
In truth, lots of us do.